Daily Devotion – September 17, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Psalm 116:1-9
116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
116:2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
116:3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
116:4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, save my life!”
116:5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
116:6 The LORD protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
116:7 Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
116:8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
116:9 I walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

It’s all about remembering to call upon the name of the generous ever-listening Lord.

Here is a psalmist who has been in a really bad situation, who has surely faced death or deep suffering. Do you know someone these days who is suffering in that way? I help out a couple of people who experience anguish or despair regularly. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. And it is very clear to me that at those moments they are reduced to very simple human beings who have nothing left but to say the Lord’s name. Who they are and what they have accomplished in life doesn’t help them – in fact it isn’t even in the room with them. They are mere mortals, simple, sad, suffering beings.

Maybe that is what the writer means in verse 6: “The Lord protects the simple. When I was brought low, he saved me.”  When we are up high, our dependence on the Lord completely disappears from view. But when we are low, when we have nothing, we can see God leaning in to hear us.

How wonderful would our lives be if, even while riding high, we could be reminded that we are just simple beings, and even our high riding is furnished by God’s generosity? Stay simple no matter what, and you will always see God nearby. God inclines God’s ear to us. Isn’t that a wonderful image? God leans in to hear us better. God is an active listener no matter when we call out for God’s voice or presence or help or reassurance. We are the simple ones, and God is leaning in to hear us.

Gracious and generous God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being so attentive to us. Help us to remember to keep things simple and watch for you, to call your name and see you leaning toward us.   Amen.